Well, this is interesting - I did this character roster in early 2001 (I can tell that based on what Tony Corvell looks like), and there seem to be a whole bunch of characters you've probably never seen before! Artimus Frink, Co-pilot and Tork (along with Professor Pod) work together as 'Explorers Inc.', of course, but.... Rufus Max? The Big Boss? Fuzzy Dice? They are concepts that, unfortunately, slipped through the cracks without really gaining a foothold - none of those characters, in fact, have ever even appeared IN the strip. Rufus Max was supposed to be an intergalactic trucker - which means he is not actually a Cosmosian, simply visiting from elsewhere - with The Big Boss being the volatile-tempered fish-in-a-robot-suit who employed him; while Fuzzy Dice are a rock band (some Cosmosians, some not) who I considered co-opting from an even earlier incarnation where the two Cosmosians were humans and the band was called 'Fuzzy Fish and the Dice Men'. Very glad I changed that name....
Back into the archives we go! This time around, we present the art that graced an birthday card envelope early in 2000; for my good friend
Jeremy! It was one of the first times I'd used Cosmosian-ised Transformers in the strip, but it certainly wouldn't be the last!
Sorting out stuff for Cosmos: Old School (back on the 31st of October, don't forget), I came across this little gem in the archives -
it's a complete model sheet for the prototypical Type One Cosmosian!
It’s part two of the Cosmos: Old School pre-emptive Christmas celebration! Grab some egg nog, sit down by the fire, try to resist the urge to break into
‘Snoopy’s Christmas’ or ‘All I want for Christmas is you’ (please), and enjoy some more Cosmos festivity!
Top: Gene is all for the latest developments in fad-culture.... especially when it allows him to get out of doing hard work, like decorating a tree by hand.....
Bottom: And he clearly is easily suckered in by the promises of ill-conceived Christmas cuisine. I can just imagine the advertising spiel - ‘Tabasco Sauce
candy canes: So Hot Right Now!’ Blehh.
Top: Hey hey! It’s Macy! This is her first appearance since, well, her first appearance; and although I never actually state it anywhere in either of said guest-spots, she and
Ax are obviously a couple. That much is obvious, right? Exactly how far into their relationship they are (now or then) I’ve never really specified - they’ve bought a house
together, at the very least, and they certainly ACT like an old married couple - but beyond that, who knows? Another perplexing aspect of Macy (for the first few years of
Cosmos) is the panel-to-panel inconsistency in her costume: fully equipped, she wore A) a colourful polka-dot bandana, B) a pair of rose-tinted glasses, and - for a while -
C) a peace badge, usually upside down for some reason. I think I’d originally envisioned her as a mellow, hippie-type character.... but based on her current bristly personality,
I’d say that idea lasted a grand total of five seconds! Although I don’t think she’s ever been without her glasses, both her bandana and badge (what IS it pinned onto?!)
had the annoying habit of randomly flickering on and off between one panel and the next - either by themselves or in tandem. Perhaps wisely, I’ve long since left the
peace badge in the ‘off’ position, and she’s just stuck with the bandana and glasses.
Bottom: the first mention of the (on Cosmos) legendary discount-king / rip-off artist ‘Big Bob’, who always seems to have a new sure-fire business on tap to fleece gullible
Cosmosians of their hard-won dollars. He’s more of a force of nature (or a running gag) than an actual character, and - aside from one occasion - he’s never shown up
on-camera to hawk his wares. Just count yourself lucky....
Here’s the colour version of the one of that pair of Christmas cards I actually have, along with some extra bonus festive illustrations I did in conjunction with the cards.
And there’s Murph! I hadn’t realised until now that I’d even drawn him again before his next appearance in 2000 - but apparently I did. He’s gained his, er, ‘yellow belly’
by now, as well as some (rather long) whiskers; but not his distinctive belly-stripes / sgementation as yet. Looking at the main card art again, it also strikes me that Artie,
Gene and Ax are looking very.... conspiratorial. Almost as if they’re planning something with those presents they’re holding. Look at those sly smirks! And those shifty
gazes! I’d better keep my eyes on those three....
COSMOS: OLD SCHOOL WILL RETURN ON THE 31st OF OCTOBER!
Part of the annual duties of any comic strip is the inevitable Christmas / Season’s Greetings / Happy Holidays series, wherein the characters get all festive and do any number
of, erm, festive-related things. Cosmos certainly adheres to this tradition; and whether through comic strips, greeting card art or other artistic scribblings, I try to put some
sort of Cosmos / Christmas mash-up together every year. This is part one of a two-part exploration of Cosmos’ first Christmas - part two comes tomorrow, as one
would expect - wherein the now fully-established main cast get up to all sorts of yuletide tomfoolery....
This is the original inked artwork for a pair of Christmas cards I did for friends and family in 1999 - both were then coloured in and photocopied the requisite number of times
so there were enough to go around..... But unfortunately, I don’t seem to have kept a colour version of the one on the right for myself, which is a common factor with many
cards I’ve done for people in the past - how many I never preserved for posterity, I have no idea.
Top: it’s my very first ever filksong! Whether I knew it or not, creating song parodies was going to become an important part of my work over time,
as I got more into parody and satire in various projects....
Bottom: a good example of a comic that works perfectly well without extraneous dialogue or further explanation - everything you need to know is in Artie’s body language,
actions and reactions to the situation at hand. If I’d added any extra ‘clues’ to the story (as one person I showed it to seemed to think it needed - the only one who didn’t
immediately burst out laughing upon reaching panel four, by the way), it would have turned into a clunky, overworked mess.
Top and bottom: two further examples of ‘dialogue-light’ strips - interestingly, I seem to have drawn up (or, at the very least, come up with the ideas for) these first four strips
in late November; judging by the dates on them. Gene is in fine form once again, displaying perhaps rather more of a greedy side to his personality than he might like to show
these days.... I’m not sure who the Type-One Cosmosian discovering Ax’s spending problem in the second strip is - perhaps Artie’s unnamed friend from earlier in the year?
TO BE CONTINUED....